Tag Archive: Western World

Dead Internet Tomorrow?

Tomorrow, This Site Is Dead.

Why?

All my sites go off-line tomorrow in what-is-to-be-hoped a world-wide protest against the proposed SOPA & PIPA acts in the USA.

SOPA? Briefly.

Under intense lobbying from the entertainment industry behemoths, the law, far from protecting copyright holders like myself, will actually make it a simple process for any person or organisation with enough ‘clout’ to close down whole websites or force them to change content without any call to the process of law which has been bloodily built up over centuries in our Western world.

This means that those with ‘clout’ can censor – anyone – for anything – on their own whim.

This is draconian.  This is bad.  Very bad.  Essentially, it’s the beginning of end of what little civilisation we have and the start of a dark dictatorial era which can only end badly.

Internet Content

The internet started and spread because content is king.  If SOPA goes ahead, content will be at the behest of and regulated by vast faceless pan-global entities.

  • You will see what they want you to see.
  • You will read what they want you to read.
  • You will think what they want you to think.

My websites are just a pimple in the sea of internet content.  But many others are also closing for the day.  The 18th of January 2012 is the day the internet self-censors.  Many large websites are closing too.  It shows us what the future could become.

  • For all you yanks reading this, follow the links to find out how you can help.
  • For the rest of us, because the USA has traditionally and historically been a bastion of freedom, pray hard – because what the USA does affects us all.

Stop the SOPA Bill

Stop the SOPA Bill

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Curious Suicide

The Coroner and The Law

I’m often struck when reading the papers or news, to see the coroner’s verdict on someone’s death as:

Ending his own life “while the balance of his mind was disturbed”

Dennis and Flora Milner said they wanted to decide when to die

Dennis and Flora Milner said they wanted to decide when to die

Well they have to say something, it’s their job, but the phrase is very peculiar.  It is also very common, over 110k webpages!

Take this couple, the Milners, who were found dead in their home on the 1st November, 2009.  They look quite jolly, don’t they.  Would you say that the balance of their mind is disturbed?

Current UK law says that it’s OK to end your own life, but illegal to help anyone do it.  I’ve emphasised the word “current”, because not that long ago, when the spoken language of the people of Britain would be comprehensible to us here today, it was actually a capital offence to commit suicide!  In other words, if you failed to kill yourself, the State would that ensure you got your wish, by hanging you.  This all came from the Catholic and then later Protestant religions’ view of life and the hereafter.

This shows that the view of suicide is highly flexible!

New Economy

Angst

A common view, is as I stated at the top; that someone has a mental problem.  This is a tautology, of course. (Statement: ‘All people who attempt suicide are mentally ill.’ Question: ‘How do you know they are mentally ill?’ Answer: ‘Because only mentally ill persons would try to commit suicide.’) But more to the point, what is the mind?

Mind

People have struggled since the dawn of self-comprehension about “the mind”.  Descartes said “I think therefore I am” which is as good as anything.

Nichiren, the Buddhist monk has said many things, usually by quoting other previous Buddhist scholars and the like, and with an alarming number of references to the concept of “mind“, “self” and “existence“.  For instance, quoting Dengyo he states,

“The two phases of life and death are the wonderful workings of one mind. The two ways of existence and non-existence are the true functions of an inherently enlightened mind.” – Nichiren, The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life

Which is all fine and dandy if you’re not depressed, isn’t it?  If you are feeling down, it’s as dust to the wind, isn’t it?

But the truth of what Nichiren is saying is that it encapsulates one’s concept of “self”, regardless of whether you are up or down with your life.

And surely, by knowing oneself, even if you are suicidal, then your mind is never disturbed because at that point you have a very clear idea of “self”?

Suicide Types

Disappearance/Appearance

Value

There are various forms of suicide, neatly classified on this Wikipedia entry.  What is clear to me, is that there are, in essence, only two types of suicide, and they both to varying degrees are to do with a lack of value to life, not a disrespect of it.

  • Respect is a concept based in honour and subservience.
  • Value is a concept that is transferable across many human activities and we all have a good idea of it’s meaning that is far removed from any concept of society, duty, kinship and a host of other things based around law and natural justice.

The first is when one perceives no value in one’s own life.

Here, I’m separating life and existence into two different things, much as all the world’s major religions do.  (Most religions, in one way or another, have at their core the premise that when you die, in the physical sense, that you “go” somewhere else afterwards).  In such a case, a person may be fed up with their lot and end it all for one of the reasons that Wikipedia lists.  For example, men with families like myself, when getting their pension statement will jokingly say amongst themselves that “I’m worth more dead than alive!”.  The truth is that this is a truly valid reason that many suicides will use and is a far closer statement of the reality of many in the Western World’s lives than they care to admit.

The second is when a person sees no value in other’s lives.

Such examples could be:

  • A soldier in Afghanistan
  • A soldier in WW1 or WW2
  • A suicide bomber in Iraq or Afghanistan
  • A kamikaze pilot in WW2

 

Grieving Woman

We must remember that so long as war exists on earth there will be some danger that even the nation which most ardently desires peace may be drawn into war . . .
I hate war . . .
Let those who wish our friendship look us in the eye and take our hand.
© Gettty Images https://tinyurl.com/looceef

In each of these cases, the potential for that person’s own death is there precisely because they set aside for an undefined period, any value of the person’s life they are going to kill, even though there’s a good chance they too will die.

By doing this they wrap up my first reason within the second.  It’s impossible not to!

Of course, they justify their reasons under the flags of patriotism or peace and the promise or expectation of a “better life” either elsewhere for themselves or their families or country.

Country-Person, Person-Country?

Nationalism and native land

Nationalism and native land

But what is the point of committing suicide for a country or a belief system like a religion?  These are temporary constructs of our human minds.  As Nichiren said;

There are not two lands, pure or impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds. – On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime – The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Volume 1, page 4

and here;

It is like the case of a person who in a dream sees himself performing various good and evil actions. After he wakes up and considers the matter, he realizes that it was all a dream produced by his own mind. This mind of his corresponds to the single principle of the essential nature of phenomena, the true aspect of reality, while the good and evil that appeared in the dream correspond to enlightenment and delusion. – The Entity of the Mystic Law – WND1, page 418

So what we have is our own mind.

  • Who is to say whether it’s mad or bad?
  • Who is to say that life itself is a true reality, because every single thing we see with our eyes and perceive with our other senses, is actually processed information by, and a product of, our own mind!

This last is pure physics and logic.  We live, and see things just like TV.  A TV picture is just dots on a screen.  Our mind converts them into news, trees, people, porn.  But there’s nothing there, only dots.

Similarly with Great Art.  It’s just paint splodges.  It’s our mind that makes the Mona Lisa enigmatic – not even Leonardo’s – it’s our own mind that does it!!!. Just like the expression, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.

Life and Love

Soldier Love

Love

So who can put any suicide under any form of disdain?  Who can dare compare the suicide of a soldier (usually dressed up as medals and bravery, and they are brave, make no mistake) dying for his or her concept of patriotism with the suicide of a spurned lover, dying for their own concept of life and duty?

It takes just as much bravery for a young girl to walk into a market place and blow herself up as it does for a soldier to run across open ground through a field of enfilading machine gun fire.

And it takes the same bravery for a spurned or deceived lover to end their life when they’ve been through all the options in their own mind, using all the logic at their disposal and deduced that a new, different life for themselves in the next existence is a better option than the current life, especially if, as I said earlier, they consider the value of their life to be greater when they are dead!

To go through all these acts of certain death takes the same amount of courage from everybody, in that I see no distinction.

In this story, a very good Agatha Christie type of mystery, transported into the modern era in a multi-cultural ghetto that explores the social conflicts and mores from many angles, not least the personal, the social, the political, the economic and the cultural clash angles, one of the characters, Hassan, says,

‘Fucking love, ain’t it, messing with you, makes you unable to think clear.’

And that’s about the sum of it.

Let there be light

Let there be light

For the love of a woman, a man, your children, a country, a religion, a promise of a better future;  these are all good and valid reasons for a suicide.

Question?

Now can anyone tell me a valid reason to oppose someone’s suicide?

Answers must be logically consistent.  When you’ve got them, then either reply here or write them on a piece of paper and shove them up your arse.

I really don’t care.  It’s my blog space and I’ll say what I want.

 

Somewhat Related:

You may pile up dung and call it sandalwood, but when you burn it, it will give off only the odour of dung. You may pile up a lot of great lies and call them the teachings of the Buddha, but they will never be anything but a gateway to the great citadel of the hell of incessant suffering.

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Brave Italians versus Torture

CIA Guilty of Torture and Kidnap – Damages of 1.5 Million Euros

Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr was snatched from a street in Milan

Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr was snatched from a street in Milan

Amazing news today.  An Italian court has bravely taken on the leader of the Western World and convicted 22 CIA agents of kidnap and torture. (see CIA agents guilty of Italy kidnap).

The man on the left with the wacky beard and hat, was snatched from the street in Italy, flown to Egypt, and tortured.

America’s great liberal hope, President Obama, and his government, have expressed,

…”disappointment at the convictions”….

This is not surprising to me, given what I wrote here earlier in the year when I realised that after only 100 days in office, Obama thought torture was okay… (contrast this to the optimism shown here and here, for example.  Sometimes speaking well just isn’t good enough, especially if your actions are in complete disregard of your own constitution.)

Absent From Trial

The CIA people (including high ranking colonels etc) were all tried in their absence – you see, Italy doesn’t kidnap people! (Interestingly, the CIA, as judge, jury and executioner have just bombed 2 ‘insurgents’ in Pakistan with a drone plane again – “It is not clear if there was any high-value target, We also do not know the identity of the militants” the CIA said; but Insurgents …were pulling bodies out of the rubble… Obama condones all this as drone flights and civilian deaths have wildly escalated under his rule.)

So while Italy is usually thought of as the laughing stock of Europe because of the uncountable number of elections it has and the current buffoon of an incumbent that they keep electing – it’s actually been very brave and done the right thing.

Will America do the same?  Will it do the right thing?  Will Obama strive to regain the high moral ground that he stood on to be elected and which he espoused so eloquently on Inauguration Day?

No Confidence

I doubt it very much.  When 52% of USA citizens think torture is okay and Utah remains a cesspit of corruption and evil business practices, when most Americans don’t care a damn about rising sea levels – and the rest…  ..and the rest!!

I doubt it very much indeed.

UK Caught With Pants Down and Hands on the Trigger

Our UK government isn’t any better having colluded in the kidnaps (called extraordinary renditions as a smokescreen to reality) and torture.  Are they in Europe or out?  Do they agree with “The Hague” or not?  Have they signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or not?

Answers

Answers to these and other questions can be found in my earlier posts from this year.  What a year!

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Will

Strangely post on November 4th, 2009
Posted in Buddhism Tags: , , , , , , ,
Elf in a Forest

Thinking...

I booked an appointment to make a will today.

I’ve never made one before – it feels really, really weird.

A bit like the arrival of a first child, it’s one’s connection and a brutal reminder of the reality of life and death, sickness and old age;

things that almost everyone in the Western world will experience…

But you try not to think about it, too much.

Weird.

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Thatcher’s Recession, and Now?

How Bad was Thatcher’s Recession compared to the Current Economic Slump?

Q. Well, how would you find out, exactly?

Slump's Progress

Slump's Progress

A. Surprisingly easily.  This graph here compares historical economic slumps with the current one, on a month by month basis.  It’s taken from the “National Institute of Economic and Social Research” (NIESR) website here.  Notionally, it’s an academic institution, but on examining it’s staff and management you’ll see that it’s a collection of vested interest groups, supplying a “knowledge base”.

But There’s No Denying their Facts!

Rig IIThe current slump is in black and the fall seems to have plateaued out a bit.  It’s tracking something like the red line and the green line.  So what you see is the Green Line, which is Thatcher’s Slump, being nearly as bad as the depression in the 1930s (the red line)!

However, in Thatcher’s time, Britain was awash with North Sea oil wealth!  Coal mines were still producing horrendous quantities of fuel and North Sea Gas had been on-stream for years.

In short, the country was sound with it’s own supplies of energy, dependant on no-one.  And yet, it had the worst economic state since the great depression!

So much for Thatcher’s miracle!

The current labour government has not been blessed with such good fortune during the current slump.  Britain is now a huge energy importer and is vulnerable to the vagaries of the market in oil as we saw last year.

Where Did the Money Go in Thatcher’s Time?

Thatcher Explains All

Thatcher Explains All

The legacy of Thatcher’s time in office was leaking schools everywhere, a crumbling rail network, hived off bus services that redefined “service”, a crumbling road system, paid-for medical treatment…. an almost endless list!

  • So where did the money go?
  • Where did the strategic national energy reserves of oil, coal and gas go?
  • Where did Britain’s manufacturing industry go?
  • Well the energy was burnt to get money to pay people on the dole.
  • Britain’s manufacturing (and most of the Western world’s) went to China and would have happened anyway

That leaves the money.  Where did the money go?

A. Tax havens, that’s where.

Thatcher and all conservatives of that ilk whine on about making a country fit for the entrepreneurial spirit.  But their actions, both now and historically, for the most part, go soundly against that spirit. (I’m thinking particularly of Ashcroft here who may be entrepreneurial but whose contributions to UK PLC as opposed to Tory Ltd have been minimal…)

It’s in their name – conservative.

Their gut reaction is to hoard wealth, and if they can’t do it at home, they’ll do it abroad (like Shirley Porter).  Remember, the wealth of “The City” is not derived from the re-invested wealth of landowning Tories suddenly looking for a home for their money once local industries had gone.  It comes from abroad.  There’s no way they’d invest their own money in infrastructure or development.  Sheesh!

Their other modus operandi is to do as little as possible for the country while maintaining the status quo.  Hence, this is why all large companies and financial institutions are full of the same old people, having the same background and speaking the same language.  The banks and other institutions behind the economic collapse are headed by these people, who flit from government to the military, to law, ‘business’ and finance with impunity.  Anywhere that’ll keep them busy, keep them wealthy and keep them pulling strings.

True, many do ‘charitable’ activities and are on the controlling side of many charities.  But that’s purely dressage.  Being involved with charity does not make you a good person.  You just look good.  In a truly civilised society there should be no need whatsoever for charity.  It’s a definition of civilised, or being civil, in my book.

Worms from Woodwork

Now, with the piss-poor Labour government and their own side’s resurgence all the old tories are all coming out of the woodwork again.  The odious slimery is oozing forth like the dark stain from history that it is.  The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) is one such place.

Thatcher-Cameron

Thatcher-Cameron

The CPS, created by… Thatcher!… in 1974, proclaims it’s freedom credentials from it’s lofty privileged position.  Among it’s luminaries is Thatcher’s advertiser (Saatchi) and the European gaffer of Goldmann Sachs, one of the companies internationally bailed out with public funds and one of those businesses at the forefront of the whole current economic mess!  Most of the rest seem to have had various Tory positions over the last two decades.  So much for independent think tank!  (By the way, the CPS is a pseudo-charity – a non-profit-making organisation which relies on the donations of individuals and companies to carry out its work!!)

Part of the CPS’s ‘current thinking’ is to roll back the surveillance culture that has developed under Labour.  Personally, I can’t see it happening…

The trouble is, as has just been revealed in a book supposedly derived from recently released archive material from MI5, (The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5), like all power-grabbers, Thatcher used MI5 for her own ends.  She used MI5 to discredit Red Robbo the Trades Union Leader and had tabs on Scargill.  Prime Minister Wilson even had the tabs on him and ordered tabs on others….  and so it goes. (see Book tells of MI5’s secret pastthe fact is that Margaret Thatcher demanded action from MI5 to deal with “wreckers” in British industry and yet it was herself that wrecked that same industry!.)

That’s why I see it as highly unlikely that Cameron, if the Tories get in, will roll back the shutters on our increasingly closeted and shuttered state apparatus.  He’s there purely to re-instate the old status quo….

  • To keep jobs for the boys
  • Re-exert the dominant power structures of the state and the wealthy, bolstering their unhealthy connections to their former pre-eminence
  • Say that all the new hospitals and schools which have replaced all the leaking and collapsing ones, would have happened anyway…
  • Say that the new fast rail links would have happened anyway without government sponsorship
  • Ensure that money stashed abroad by the wealthy remains unreachable by the state
  • Bring back smoking in pubs
  • Tax the poor to pay for the rich’s mistakes
  • Kill foxes ritually
  • Say that they’d have fixed the credit-crunch anyway..

All these and more will come under the banner of “freedom” and I’m quite sure that MI5 will be used to ensure they happen.  The media will naturally be roped in to lend a publicity hand to smooth the waters and ensure that the status quo has safe passage;  A media governed by;

  • a non-tax paying, non-resident Australian-American,
  • a non-resident Briton who prefers to pay French tax
  • and a brotherly twosome who threaten locals who don’t vote for “their man”.

Great?  Britain.

Thatcher’s Economic Legacy

  • Greed
  • Selfishness
  • The Channel Tunnel (economic disaster, multiple bankrupt)
  • M25, world’s biggest car park and fume cupboard
  • …er.  That’s it.

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